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    Clinton 'at risk' in Pakistan

    Clinton 'at risk' in Pakistan

    FROM IAN BRODIE IN WASHINGTON (The Sunday Times, London)

    THE Secret Service fears that President Clinton's life will be in danger if he visits Pakistan next month, according to a report published yesterday.
    A top-level meeting was held at the White House yesterday to consider whether Mr Clinton should add Pakistan to his itinerary when he visits India and Bangladesh on a trip starting on March 19.

    The Pakistani security service had been heavily infiltrated by anti-American militants and there was a threat from Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, a senior US official said.

    The report expressing concerns about Mr Clinton's safety if he does go to Pakistan appeared in The Washington Times, which has a noteworthy record of bringing intelligence issues to light.

    According to its account, American officials also worry that information on procedures to protect travelling Presidents could be used by terrorists with a global reach to threaten not just Mr Clinton's life, but also those of future American leaders.

    The official explained that the host government provides 95 per cent of the protection for a presidential visit, while agents from the Secret Service provide only the last 5 per cent.

    "It's where their security people interact with ours that they can learn about our methods, techniques and secrets," the official told The Washington Times. There was no official comment from the Secret Service.

    The official claimed that Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency, known as ISI, had been working for years with anti-American groups such as Harakat-ul Mujahideen, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist groups. The group is suspected of hijacking an India Airlines jet last December, an action that led to one of its leaders being freed from an Indian prison.

    The ISI is also said to have dealt for years with Osama bin Laden, who is now in hiding in Afghanistan and is wanted for the bombing of an American army barracks in Saudi Arabia and the bombings of two American embassies in Africa, all with heavy casualties.

    Mr Clinton had hoped that a visit to Pakistan might help to end its 50-year battle with India over Kashmir. He has the support of nine fellow Democrats in the Senate, who wrote to him yesterday urging him to include Pakistan in the hope of making progress on Kashmir and controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. But Mr Clinton would need to explain to Americans why he was visiting a country ruled by a military junta that overthrew an elected civilian Government last October.

    India cannot understand why Mr Clinton is even thinking of going to Pakistan. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Indian Prime Minister, has suggested that Washington should declare Pakistan to be a "terrorist State".



    #2
    Pakistan not safe for Clinton visit
    By Ben Barber THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    The Secret Service fears President Clinton's life would be in danger if he visits Pakistan next month because the nation's security service has been heavily infiltrated by anti-American militants, a senior U.S. official said yesterday. The concern comes as the White House mulls whether Mr. Clinton should stop in Pakistan during a trip to India and Bangladesh. U.S. officials also fear that information on procedures used to protect traveling presidents could be used by terrorists with a "global reach" to threaten the lives of future American leaders. "The host government provides 95 percent of the protection for a president on a visit," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Only the last 5 percent is provided by our Secret Service people. "It's where their security people interact with ours that they can learn about our methods, techniques and secrets," said the official. "This would endanger the life of President Clinton in Pakistan and on other trips. It also threatens future U.S. presidents.

    These terrorists are transnationals and operate around the world." Secret Service officials declined to comment. The U.S. official detailed other security concerns, including the threat that Islamic extremists from Afghanistan, who move easily across the border with Pakistan, could attack any airport used by Mr. Clinton.

    "They have experience with long-range shelling," said the official. The official said that Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency, known as the ISI, has been working for years with anti-American groups such as Harakat-ul Mujahideen, which is on the State Department list of terrorist groups. The group is suspected of hijacking an India Airlines jet last December. One of its leaders was freed from an Indian prison in exchange for the release of the passengers and crew. Pakistan's ISI also has dealt for years with reputed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, believed responsible for the 1996 bombing of U.S. army barracks in Saudi Arabia and the
    bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

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